When work stressed me out I like to pop over to The Chocolate Cafe in Rambsbottom to have some great food and unwind. To be honest it’s my favourite cafe in the country. I also like to have a chat with Paul - the guy that set it up and is doing wonders for the local area. Paul has hit on something unique in this part of the world: a warm, friendly destination offering great grub served by terrific people. They also produce their own chocolates on site, and seemingly have something new every time I pop in. In fact, I really can't keep up with how Paul is evolving his chocolate shop.
I adore 100% chocolate, and I know many of you do too. So I wangled a bar to try out. Paul is just as adamant as I am that chocolatiers should step away from the horrendous mass-produced couverture, if possible, and explore the great stuff that niche chocolate makers offer. Here we have Casa Luker couverture made from Columbian 'fino de aroma' beans which are a hybrid of the broad Criollo and Trinitario categorisation of cacao variety. You can find out more about their beans here. They also make their couverture in a different process to most chocolate makers in that they roast the nibs to make chocolate rather than roast full beans.
Now on to the 'tasting'. Of course you always start with the eyes. I did notice quite a few air holes in the bar which means that they weren't vibrated sufficiently during the cooling process. When it comes to the aroma wasn't as pronounced as I would have expected. What was noticeable was a slight spice edge along with strawberry. Nothing much jumped out, but if searched for then you can find some aromas.
In terms of the flavour it was smack bang between the very creamy Pralus and the intense Fruition. It shouldn't offend people with preference at either end of the scale. Making a paste out of the chocolate and pushing it to the front of my mouth (as you should do) I got a good dose of hazelnut which surprised me. The spice was also there and a very small amount of liquorice. As the melt progressed there was a nice roasted angle that much 100% seems to miss. That tanginess combined with the hazelnut and lingered on the taste buds.
This 100% would serve as a good introduction for those that like higher cocoas and have a pre-conceived notion of what chocolate at this level tastes like. It doesn't taste anywhere near the harsh, intense flavours that I suspect most milk-chocolate lovers enjoy.
Another reason to enjoy Casa Luker and the chocolates that Paul at the Chocolate Cafe produce is that the company is highly ethical. They look after the welfare of the families they engage with and support their long-term education. This is something I wholeheartedly support.
You can buy this chocolate here.